Best Windows 8 apps this week
Thirty-fourth in a series. The total apps growth this week jumped over the 3,000 new apps mark again after having hit that threshold for the first time two weeks ago.
The total app count in the US Windows 8 Store rose to 63,756 free and paid apps up 3,034 apps from 60,722 the week before.
The available free apps in the store increased by 2,479 apps to 49,513 apps in total, while paid apps increased by 555 in the same time to 14,243.
Microsoft has been busy behind the scenes this week. The company started a new Windows app builder blog that covers "everything related to developing and selling apps for Windows".
It has been designed to provider developers and businesses with information about the Windows 8 ecosystem including development tips, information about marketing and monetization strategies and the apps submission process.
New monetization prototypes were revealed on Microsoft's Advertising blog which will soon be turned into beta products and then released for all app publishers.
As far as application updates go, the Windows 8 Kindle app was updated to version 2.0 offering new features that include an option to search for text in ebooks. Features like the notes and bookmarking option were updated and the home screen redesigned.
App of the week
The Vevo app for Windows 8 provides you with access to Vevo's entire catalog of music videos. While you do get access to that on other sites as well, the app itself is beautifully done, full of extra functionality and not geo-restricted.
You can tune in to Vevo TV right away to watch one music video after another in full screen and good quality.
Other options include playing top videos, video premieres or shows that are highlighted on the front as well.
You can make use of the search to find videos of artists that you like and play those videos directly from within the application. Vevo adds more videos to the playlist automatically so that you can in theory watch full screen music videos for as long as you like using the application.
Note that advertisements may be displayed in the app before music videos start to play.
What might be interesting to know is that the application does not restrict access to users from specific countries.
The official Windows 8 application of Vyclone, a social video platform where users can co-create videos of moments they have shared. You can use it to sync and edit video footage filmed at the same event to create multi-angle videos.
The Windows 8 application displays trending videos and videos from users you are subscribed to. You can furthermore manage your video uploads from the app or add a movie using a connected webcam and microphone.
Pirate's Path (no link yet)
You race against time in this story-driven puzzle game. The main task involves matching three or more items of a kind to create chains that remove the items from the board.
In some levels, you are asked to collect specific types of items only, in others to flip the color of tiles by creating chains with items that are placed on them.
New game elements are introduced while you are playing the game so that you won't get bored quickly. Additional objectives include making gold bars drop out of the screen or breaking rocks that block tiles on the game board.
Endless Skater is a great looking game that combines game elements from skating games such as Skate or Die or the Tony Hawk series of games with the visual style of Sega's Jet Set Radio series.
You can play time trials or an endless mode, do all sorts of tricks on the course you are skating on, add tricks to your repertoire or even play as one of several pro skaters that have been added to the game.
The game supports Xbox 360 gamepads but also mouse, keyboard and touch controls to perform tricks and keep your skater from falling down to the floor.
Cliplets are small looping animations much like animated gifs that you can create using the Blink app for Windows 8.
It enables you to open a video that is stored on the local system to create a cliplet out of it, or to record video using a connected webcam or other recording media.
Cliplets that you create can be shared on Microsoft's social networking site So.cl or other social websites.
The free notes taking application for Windows 8 can save notes to the local system or to SkyDrive.
You can combine audio notes with a variety of information that include setting a location using Bing Maps, text, and configuring a reminder.
A microphone is required to record audio which in turn is needed to save the note locally or remotely.
This application offers access to a selection of videos from Microsoft Research that you can watch in full screen from within the application. The videos are streamed in varying qualities depending on the watcher's connection.
Videos are sorted into groups on the apps' front page. Here you can access new, popular or featured videos, browse them by visiting speakers or events, or take a trip down memory lane and watch Feynman Messenger lectures in black and white.
You can add videos to your watchlist and watch them at a faster or slower speed.
Notebook Free is your own personal notebook for Windows 8. You can use the application to create notebooks that you can then fill with information.
Options include adding text to the notebook, drawing directly on it, or adding images and photos. All elements on each page of the notebook can be arranged as you see fit.
The notebook itself supports sections that you can create to add different information to them. It is alternatively possible to create single sheets of notes instead.
Sparkle 2 ($5.99)
Sparkle 2 is a paid application that you can try for free before you need to make a buying decision. The game uses the same mechanics as the popular Zuma game in which you shoot colored balls at a chain of balls that progresses slowly towards an object in each level.
Three or more matching balls are removed from the chain which may not only slow down its progress but also get you closer towards the end of the level.
The game features improved graphics and several interesting power ups that you can make use of. You can select one permanent power up in addition once you have unlocked them.